At the end of the Owlbear BBQ, diners discuss the BBQ scene in Denver
Yes, this is the last day for Owlbear Barbecue, which will be permanently closing at 2826 Larimer Street when service ends today, January 23. “It was a long time coming,” says owner Karl Fallenius. “I love Owlbear, but I can’t wait to be stressed out all the time.”
Westword first tried Owlbear’s BBQ in 2016, when it was offered in a temporary outdoor facility at Finn’s Manor. We loved it then, and we love it now: Owlbear won our Best BBQ Restaurant category in Best of Denver 2021.
Some diners applauded the choice, others weren’t big fans. But in their comments on the Westword Facebook post about Owlbear’s closure, readers all agree that Denver needs more good barbecues. says Andrew:
A huge loss not only to the BBQ scene, but to the Denver food scene in general. The food at Owlbear had more soul than 99% of the restaurants in this abandoned town. I really hope Karl comes back at some point.
It’s not good! Colorado’s barbecue scene sucks.
Nothing better than OMF beers and a good brisket. Wishing them the best for the future.
But Roger replies:
I’m sorry, but it was one of the worst barbecues I’ve ever had. Especially for the price. Moved to Denver over 25 years ago, and for many years the barbecue scene here was abysmal. And no, Brothers BBQ is not good. Now there are some great choices in and around town. Smok at the Source Hotel, Post Oak on Tennyson, Wayne’s at Superior, and Yazoo downtown are all solid, with some more comprehensive than others. But Owlbear? No, just no.
“BBQ scene”? This Texan finds it very amusing.
Is there really good barbecue in Denver? I got a few decent guesses, but nothing as good as I used to get from a guy with a smoker in a 7-Eleven parking lot in North Florida. If a fully stocked restaurant with all its resources can’t match a guy in a parking lot, it’s doing something very wrong.
Denver BBQ is overpriced, overcooked and the sauces are just poor.
And Kyle concludes:
People in this state don’t know what a good barbecue is. Every place I tried sucked.
What are your favorite barbecue joints? Other readers mention Seasoned Swine, Southern Pit and Lulu’s. But don’t suggest Wayne’s Smoke Shack; this popular spot is currently closed due to damage from the Marshall Fire.
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